Cabinet committee approves affidavit on Sethusamudram

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New Delhi, Feb 28 (UNI) The Centre today approved an affidavit on the controversial Sethusamudram canal project that would be filed in the Supreme Court.

The affidavit, finalised at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, would seek vacation of the stay on the project, UPA sources said.

The Shipping and Culture Ministries are divided over the issue, with DMK Minister T R Baalu strongly in favour of the project and the Culture Minister Ambika Soni advocating a cautious approach towards taking a stand on whether the ''Ram Setu'' was natural or man-made.

According to mythology, the bridge was built by Lord Ram while crossing the sea to reach Lanka.

Both Mr Baalu and Ms Soni attended the CCPA meeting, which also had attendance by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Energy Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Law Minister H R Bhardwaj.

The government had withdrawn its first affidavit filed with the apex court following strong protests from BJP and other opposition parties against the assertion that Ram Setu was a natural formation.

On January 31, the Supreme Court had granted another four weeks time to the Centre to file affidavit by the first week of March.

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